Category Archives: Lebanon

A Tribute In Dortmund (Germany) To Fares, The Much-Loved Syrian Flower Boy In Hamra

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yazan fares The Flower Salesman – Dortmund, Germany

Fares is a little Syrian boy who used to sell flowers in Hamra and was loved by everyone. Fares came back to his hometown in Syria a while ago but was unfortunately killed by an airstrike (as per his brother). Children are unfortunately paying the highest price for Syria’s war and there are hundreds if not thousands of children like Fares out there.

Lebanese graffiti/street artist Yazan Halwani decided to paint Fares “on a building in Dortmund (Germany) during the Huna/K festival, so that he can keep on spreading his positive vibe, and charming pedestrians to buy flowers from him”. His only regret is that he didn’t paint Fares while he was still alive.

I loved the initiative and the mural is amazing! Thank you Yazan!

Donate Your Used Bags To Less Fortunate Children: 250 Bags Still Needed Before Oct 15

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Hayda Baytak are teaming up with Virgin Megastore to provide students in an underprivileged orphanage with over 300 bags before the beginning of the 2015-2016 academic year. All you have to do is the following:

– Grab any used backpack you have and place it in the designated boxes at any Virgin Megastore branch! It’s as simple as that and you will get a discount on new bags as well.

The campaign will end in two weeks and they still need around 250 bags! I’m sure we all have school bags that we are not using anymore, so let’s try to make an extra effort and head to the nearest Virgin branch to drop them.

I think we can easily get the 250 bags and I’m more than willing to drop the bags for you if you don’t have time or don’t have any Virgin branch near you (They have branches in ABC Achrafieh, ABC Dbayeh, Beirut Souks, DownTown Beirut, City Mall, Tripoli and at the Beirut Airport).

Let’s make this happen!


“Waynon” (Void) By George Khabbaz To Represent Lebanon At The Oscars

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The Lebanese Ministry of Culture has chosen George Khabbaz’s new movie “Waynon” to represent Lebanon at the Oscars. Waynon is about six Lebanese women representing three generations, each one still waiting for the man in her life who was kidnapped during the Lebanese Civil War and is still missing. The movie tackles a very sensitive topic that hasn’t been resolved yet. In fact, thousands of people who disappeared during the war in Lebanon and its aftermath are still missing today. The government has done nothing to clarify the fate of the missing persons, and the families are still waiting.

“Waynon” was written by Georges Khabbaz and directed by Naji Bechara, Jad Beyrouthy, Zeina Makki, Tarek Korkomaz, Christelle Ighniades, Maria Abdel Karim and Salim Habr (All NDU Graduates). “Waynon” was awarded Film of the Year Award at the Lebanese Film Festival. This is the second movie that Khabbaz is involved in that makes it to the Oscars, after Ghadi last year.

Lebanon has already submitted 11 films for the Oscars but never got a nomination. Let’s hope we do get one this time!

PS: You can find [here] the list of foreign-language movies that Waynon is competing against this year.


Who’s Behind The #HardToBelieve Campaign?

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Update: It’s an SGBL campaign.

I spotted two billboards (Arabic & English) this morning and found a Facebook page as well. I’m hoping this is not a lame campaign because the hashtags (#HardToBelieve #صعبة_تتصدق) are quite good.

Here are few things that are #HardToBelieve in Lebanon as well:
– A Hekmeh Riyadi game without a fight.
– A Wedding convoy that doesn’t block the highway.
– A restaurant that doesn’t serve Arguile.
– Finding a table at Zaatar W Zeit between 2 and 5am on weekends.
– A restaurant/pub with a self-parking service not a valet.



The State Of Broadband 2015 Report: Lebanon vs The Arab World

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According to Ogero’s July 2015 report, there are 3,638,051 internet users in Lebanon as of December 2014, out of which 2,505,875 mobile internet users. The internet penetration is 86% which puts Lebanon in 4th position regionally after Bahrain, UAE and Qatar. Unfortunately, the speeds and quotas are still lousy but things are moving in the right way hopefully especially after the fiber optics joint announcement done by the Telecom Ministry and Ogero.


About the BB Commission:
The Broadband Commission for Digital Development was launched by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in response to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s call to step up efforts to meet the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Established in May 2010, the Commission unites government leaders, top industry executives, thought leaders, policy pioneers, international agencies and organizations concerned with development.

As far as broadband is concerned, the 2015 State of Broadband report was released few days ago and Lebanon’s indicators were relatively good when compared to other Arab countries. Broadband is seen as foundation for sustainable development by the UN and an “affordable and effective broadband connectivity is a vital enabler of economic growth, social inclusion and environmental protection”.

Where does Lebanon stand in the Arab World?

– Lebanon ranked first (47th globally) in terms of fixed-broadband subscriptions per 100 inhabitants with an average of 22.8 over 100.
– Lebanon ranked 8th (57th globally) in terms of mobile broadband per 100 inhabitants with an average of 53.5 over 100. Kuwait ranked first regionally and third globally with 139.8 subscriptions per 100 inhabitants.
– 68.4% of households in Lebanon have internet (vs 98% in Qatar, 94% in KSA and 90.1% in UAE)
– 74.4% of Lebanese have used the internet in 2014 (vs 91.5% in Qatar, 91% in Bahrain and 90.4% in UAE).

Check out the full report [here].

While Lebanon’s indicators are promising, it is still important to get cheap, fast and abundant internet to all the Lebanese. Telecom Minister Boutros Harb was tweeting yesterday about the latest fiber optics updates and promised a monthly report to highlight the progress. Of course I’m not expecting fiber optics before 2-3 years but I’m still waiting for DSL services to be upgraded to VDSL2+ because we desperately need those especially in regions outside Beirut. I just applied for a DSL connection last week for my new house and I’m still waiting to see if I can get more than 1 MBPS.


Thanks Rami!

In Pictures: Supermoon (Bloodmoon) Lunar Eclipse Between 3:15 a.m and 6 a.m

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01 Bloodmoon 315am

These are four pictures showing the full moon at around 3:15 am, the transition to bloodmoon at around 5:30am, supermooon bloodmoon peak-time at 5:40am and another shot at 6 am. All were taken in Beirut by my friend Jimmy Ghazal.

In case you missed it yesterday, you will have to wait till 2033 to witness a supermoon lunar eclipse again.

02 Bloodmoon 530am

03 Bloodmoon 540am

04 Bloodmoon 600am

The Solution To All Our Problems: Come Up With The Largest Lebanese Flag

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Back in August, I got an SMS asking me to donate money in support of the longest Lebanese flag and to go down and sign it on Martyrs Square. The message also stated that the entrance was free (to Martyrs Square???). The event got cancelled due to protests back then but I received another SMS a week ago asking me to donate $1 to raise the Lebanese Cedar in the whole world and preserve our existence. I’m guessing the last message is related to the event that took place today in Beirut where the largest Lebanese flag was signed by celebrities and placed on a boat that will roam the Lebanese coast and reach 52 different countries.

I’m still trying to make sense of this event but I’m unable to. Is it really the right time to waste time and money on such a thing? How will signing the largest Lebanese flag and sending it around the world help us resolve the garbage crisis? Moreover, do we need a huge Lebanese flag to start building a house for the elderly by 2018? How much did that flag and event cost? And who’s covering the trip expenses around the world? Can’t we help old people right now with all this money? Only last week, I posted about an old man who lived on the street and committed suicide because no one was helping him.

All in all, there’s no harm in raising our Lebanese flag all over the world but you don’t need the largest Lebanese flag for that. As for Lebanese abroad, I’m sure they’d love to sign the flag and dance dabke around it but what they really want is to be involved in what’s happening here and be able to vote and change things.

PS: This same 4-digit number was asking me to help multiple sclerosis patients to beat the disease back in May 2015.




A Supermoon Lunar Eclipse Is Taking Place Tonight: Don’t Miss It!

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For those of you who are not working tomorrow or can be a bit late to work, a supermoon lunar eclipse is taking place on Monday morning between 3 a.m (Beirut local time) and 7 a.m. This is a very rare occurrence as the last supermoon lunar eclipse took place in 1982 and it won’t happen again before 2033. What happens is that the Sun will be directly behind us in respect to the Moon making the lunar surface appear red for around 60 minutes. The Moon will start entering Earth’s shadow at 3.11 a.m. (Beirut local time), reaching the center at 5.11 a.m. and exiting at 8.23 a.m.


If you want further information, check out these three useful links [iflscience], [shadowandsubstance] and [telegraph].

NASA will be covering the Supermoon Eclipse live as well with a live feed from the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles. I added an informational video by NASA on the Supermoon Eclipse and a couple of useful maps to show where the Supermoon Eclipse is visible and what we will be able to observe in Lebanon.